Chad Brown makes wood fired alkaline glazed and salted pots. Many of the forms that his works take are inspired by work his grandfather and great-great grandfather made. On his website, he says "I see pots in two ways: shape and surface. The shapes are designed by me and the surfaces are decorated by fire. Occasionally the best shape and the best surface find each other; this is my forever pursuit."
Donna Craven grew up near Seagrove and has traced her ancestry to potters in the area. She left a factory job determined to find something more interesting, and has transformed herself into one of the most notable potters in the area. Fellow artist Daniel Johnston said "Every bit of Donna comes through in each pot. The quality of the lines, the sense of design, the sophisticated decoration."
Daniel Johnston and his wife Kate live on a 10-acre property he purchased when he was sixteen with cash that he’d saved for a Ford Mustang. Daniel learned the craft from legendary North Carolina potters Nell Cole Graves (1908–1997) and Mark Hewitt. Further study in England with Clive Bowen and Svend Bayer and in Pon Bok, Thailand, with factory production potters furthered his vision and skills. Johnston is represented by Peters Projects in Santa Fe and The Mahler in Raleigh.
Fred Johnston grew up in the South and eventually got to know some of the traditional potters with deep ties to Seagrove. Following a local apprenticeship and study, he went to New York for his undergraduate degree from The New York State School of Ceramics at Alfred University. Fred received an MFA from Penn State and did a residency at Tennessee’s Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts before he and his wife Carol Gentithes settled in Seagrove for good over twenty years ago and opened Johnston and Gentithes Studios. Fred brings a curious mind and an open heart to the art and craft of his pottery.
Kate Johnston was the youngest craftsperson ever hired at the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in her hometown of Millville, New Jersey. After receiving her undergraduate degree from The New York State School of Ceramics at Alfred University, Kate moved to Seagrove and opened her own pottery studio. Her pots are made with local materials, boldly carved with organic patterns, and fired in a large wood-burning kiln. She shows her pots internationally and has lectured and taught throughout the United States.
Sid Luck received a North Carolina Heritage Award from the NC Arts Council not too long ago, and at the same time, one of his lamps graced a desk in the Obama White House. A fifth generation potter, Sid and his sons Jason and Matt continue the Luck pottery tradition at Luck's Ware Pottery. The pottery tradition takes the shape of functional stoneware pieces like candleholders, churns, jugs, pitchers, and teapots. Sid digs local clay to use in some of his pottery. One of the wheels he still uses for turning was originally in his father's shop.
Levi Mahan grew up in cabins alongside the “Pottery Highway” near Seagrove, the youngest of three children born to potters Michael Mahan and Jane Braswell. He was an engineering student at Swarthmore in 2009—studying ceramics with Syd Carpenter and Doug Herren on the side—when he decided that pottery was his true calling. Since those early days, Levi has established Levi Mahan Pottery in the cabins where he grew up. He just completed a stint as resident artist in the STARworks Clay Studio in Star, North Carolina.
Michael Mahan was a newspaper reporter—albeit with some N.C. State and Montgomery Community College ceramics class experience—when he and Jane Braswell left The Courier-Tribune in Asheboro to continue their studies. They opened Wild Rose Pottery alongside NC Highway 705 in 1986. Michael founded From the Ground Up Pottery in 1998 on 30 acres of land that was once home to W.J. Stewart, a late 19th century potter. In 2004, Michael and his wife Mary Holmes—a native of Ireland—renovated a rustic barn on the property, which now houses their gallery full of beautiful wood-fired artistry and pleasing functional forms.
Ben Owen III traces his roots to area potters from the 1700s. Like his grandfather, Ben's work reflects a foundation in traditional American designs alongside more global influences. Ben apprenticed with his grandfather before studying at East Carolina University. His work is in collections all over the globe. He's participated in workshops and conferences throughout the U.S., Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and most recently in China.
TUES.–SAT., 10am–5pm EXCEPT JANUARY and WEEK OF JULY 4
Vernon Owens, recipient of the NC Folk Heritage Award and the NEA National Heritage Fellowship, wife Pam, son Travis and daughter Bayle are the potters of Jugtown Pottery. Established in 1917, this working pottery and craft shop is located in a grove of trees and bamboo just off Busbee Road, a road named for Jacques and Juliana Busbee, the founders of Jugtown. Both artists with a love of craft and form, the Busbees created Jugtown Pottery, melding forms from ancient traditions with those developed in North Carolina. In 1917 they created The Village Store and Tea Room in New York City, and in 1922 they began stamping each piece with the circular Jugtown Ware stamp. Jugtown Pottery thrives on the aesthetic foundation laid out by the Busbees.
Anne Pärtna and her husband Adam Landsman are the proprietors of Blue Hen Pottery. Anne grew up on a family farm in Estonia, where she threw her first pot on the hub of an overturned bicycle. As a teenager, Anne landed one of three coveted openings in the ceramics program of the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn. A spring semester exchange program at East Carolina University inspired her to return to ECU for her graduate degree. She and Adam met as students in ECU’s ceramics program and moved to Seagrove in 2007. They built their Bourry Box kiln and opened Blue Hen Pottery in 2011.
Hitomi Shibata graduated with undergraduate and graduate degrees in fine art from Okayama University, with a ceramics concentration. She and her husband founded Studio Touya in Shigaraki, Japan. A Rotary International scholarship brought Hitomi to the U.S. for the first time, and she and Takuro first visited the Seagrove area during this trip. The couple returned to Seagrove in 2005 and have helped to build a home for their two boys and two kilns for their work. The relocated Studio Touya off of Busbee Road opened in 2007. Hitomi has been an artist in residence at Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan; Cub Creek Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Appomattox, Virginia; and the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove. In 2017, she was selected as a member of the International Academy of Ceramics in Geneva, Switzerland.
Takuro Shibata holds a degree in engineering and applied chemistry from Doshisya University in Kyoto, Japan. His interest in ceramics led him to become an apprentice at Tanikan-Gama Pottery Company in Shigaraki, Japan. He and his wife Hitomi first visited Seagrove in 2003. They returned to the area two years later, when Takuro accept a position as the director of STARworks Ceramics. In 2007, they established Studio Touya in Seagrove. Takuro has developed a national reputation as a studio potter and as a claymaker. He and Hitomi's work at Studio Touya was prominently featured in the May 2017 issue of Ceramics Monthly magazine.
David Stuempfle left Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to study ceramics with Isobel Karl at the High Mowing School in Wilton, New Hampshire. Following a two-year apprenticeship with Lewis Snyder in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, David travelled the U.S. as a journeyman potter, settling into Seagrove in the late 1980s. He worked for Vernon and Pam Owens at Jugtown Pottery for five years while he found 20 acres of land and built a home, kiln and studio for himself. Stuempfle Pottery was official in 1992. In 1998, a fellowship brought David to Shigaraki to study and work in the Japanese pottery village. He and his wife Nancy are widely travelled. David's work reflects that global perspective.
WE ARE a group of potters from the beautiful countryside in and around Seagrove, North Carolina. We fire our pots in wood-fired kilns that we've built by hand. We invite you to visit with us. See the "About" page for locations. From Charlotte or from the Triangle area, Seagrove is just over an hour's drive—a great afternoon visit, or make a day of it! Stay tuned for event and tour information.